younger people who are more attuned to that than parents or grandparents.”
Baltimore County Public Schools also are looking to make field trips to the newest Smithsonian.
“We are excited about the opening of the African-American museum and the many educational opportunities it affords our students,” Edie House-Foster, manager of public information for the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners, wrote in an email. “I am confident that in the days ahead our school leaders will be exploring the many ways the museum can support teaching and learning in the classroom.”
In addition, Clark said she hopes the museum will “help shape the narrative and correct some of the misconceptions.”
“I just really hope that the museum serves as a tool for teachers — especially K-12 — who don’t know much themselves about African American history and culture so they are, therefore, really unable to teach it,” Clark said.
Mark Stout, the secondary social studies coordinator of the Howard County Public School System, said he wants teachers in the district to use the museum’s online resources to help aid their classroom discussions. Stout highlighted the vast collection of photographs depicting all different aspects of African American life.
“The museum is designed very interestingly,” Stout said, “in that it shows not just heroes and famous people from our African American past, but also the lives of everyday people, which kind of reflects what we try to do ... with students, and that is look at history through the eyes of the people that lived it.”
Some of the museum’s content is not appropriate for all audiences.
A sign warns visitors that exhibits with a red border around them may be too graphic for younger or more sensitive viewers, as the museum does not shy away from difficult topics.
“I think it’s important to remember that, a lot of times, we talk about the problems facing African-Americans,” Nichols said, “but now we can look at, despite that peril, how African-Americans have triumphed over the years and how they’ve overcome so many obstacles... And it’s mainly been due to the efforts of African-Americans. No one saved them; they did it on their own.”